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System and method for tracking a lead object

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System and method for tracking a lead object


An imaging system for tracking the location and direction of movement of a first object comprises a plurality of marker devices adapted to be disposed in a pattern on the first object, a sensing device, and a processor. The sensing device is adapted to be disposed on a second object so as to view the marker devices, the sensing device being operative to detect the relative positions of the plurality of marker devices on the first object, and the processor is coupled to the sensing device to form an image of the relative positions of the plurality of marker devices and to determine the direction of movement of the first object.

Inventors: Chern-Horng Sim, Weng Heng Chua, Choon Boon Tan, Chee Hwee Toh
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120320206 - Class: 348148 (USPTO) - 12/20/12 - Class 348 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120320206, System and method for tracking a lead object.

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FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an imaging system for vehicles. More particularly, it relates to an imaging system for tracking the direction of movement of a first object with respect to a second object.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Vehicle convoys are widely used for a vast variety of applications. In military applications, vehicle convoys are used to transport resources or re-supplies to remote operation areas. Convoys of tipper trucks are also used in the construction industry to carry material back and forth from work sites for commercial purposes.

Night convoy operations in the military are typically used for sensitive operations where the convoy may be passing through a dangerous zone or is in a danger zone. The conditions in such operations are usually marked with limited visibility as the vehicles are required to be tactical in their movement. Typically, such operations are vulnerable to sniper attacks, ambush from roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from insurgents.

To circumvent the problem of limited visibility in convoy applications, it is known to use imaging, sensors, or homing systems.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,249,128 discloses a method and system for range detection using a passive infrared sensing device. The method includes determining a region on a moving object, such as an automobile, the region having a size characteristic of the object. The next step is to characterize the region by a plurality of feature points and sense the energy emitting from these feature points. The distance between the sensing device and the moving object can be calculated. The method and system, however, provides only for calculating the distance between a first and a second moving object and is dependent upon the driver to make changes if necessary during movement.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,466,306 discloses a method using night vision devices based upon image intensification technology for judging distance from an object to detect relative positions of signals from at least two spaced apart marker devices formed on that object. An image of the relative positions of the markers is created within a field of view. Images of the markers are viewed through a reticle adaptor by the operator to judge the distance. The judging of the distance is based on fitting the marker images onto the pre-marked line on the viewer. The system, however, is heavily reliant on the driver of the follower vehicle to ensure that the leader vehicle is maintained within the safe distance. Further, the system does not provide a way to track and estimate the path of the leader vehicle if it is outside the field of view.

U.S. Patent Publication No. 2006/0221328 discloses an automatic homing system, operable between pairs of objects. One or both of the objects in the pair may be moving and/or unmanned. The method comprises the steps of emitting light of at least two different frequencies and automatically detecting the emitted light. Such a system however, makes use of light sources such as incandescent lamps, light emitting diodes (LEDs), light pipes, laser diodes, etc, which are not tactical in dangerous territory.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,759,949 discloses an imaging system for a motor vehicle comprising a far infra-red camera disposed at the front end of a vehicle adapted for detecting thermal radiation and producing an image signal indicative of the temperature of the surrounding objects. A digital signal processor receives the image signal and selectively enhances the temperature resolution based upon the relative temperature distribution of the image signal, which is proportional to the temperature of objects emitting in the infrared region. The system, however, does not provide for tracking and estimating the path of a leader vehicle.

There is, therefore, a need for an imaging system that is able to track and estimate the path of a lead vehicle in low visibility conditions.

Any discussion of documents, devices, acts or knowledge in this specification is included to explain the context of the invention. It should not be taken as an admission that any of the material forms a part of the state of the art or the common general knowledge in the relevant art on or before the priority date of the disclosure and claims herein. All statements as to the date or representation as to the contents of these documents is based on the information available to the applicant and does not constitute any admission as to the correctness of the date or contents of these documents.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to overcome, or at least substantially ameliorate, the disadvantages and shortcomings of the prior art.

It is also an object of the invention to provide an imaging system for tracking the direction of movement of a first object, comprising a plurality of marker devices adapted to be disposed on the first object; and a sensing device adapted to be disposed on a second object, wherein the sensing device is adapted for detecting the relative positions of the plurality of marker devices on the first object.

It is a further object of the invention to provide an imaging system for tracking the direction of movement of a first object, comprising a plurality of marker devices adapted to be disposed on the first object; and a sensing device adapted to be disposed on a second object, wherein the sensing device is adapted for detecting the relative positions of the plurality of marker devices on the first object and for forming an image of the relative positions of the plurality of marker devices.

It is a yet further object of the invention to provide an imaging system for tracking the direction of movement of a first object, comprising a plurality of marker devices adapted to be disposed on the first object; and a sensing device adapted to be disposed on a second object, wherein the sensing device is adapted for detecting the relative positions of the plurality of marker devices on the first object and forming an image of the relative positions of the plurality of marker devices, and wherein the relative positions of the marker devices on the image allows the rotation of the first object about its own axis to be determined such that the path of the first object can be tracked.

It is a yet further object of the invention to provide a method for tracking the direction of movement of a first object, comprising the steps of: receiving images of relative positions of a plurality of marker devices adapted for being disposed on the first object, said images being captured from a sensing device adapted for being disposed on a second object; obtaining from the images parameters based on the relative positions of the plurality of marker devices; and processing the parameters to obtain the distance, bearing, and rotation of the first object with respect to the second object such that the direction of movement of the first object with respect to the second object can be determined.

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Surrounding area monitoring apparatus for vehicle
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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120320206 A1
Publish Date
12/20/2012
Document #
13328309
File Date
12/16/2011
USPTO Class
348148
Other USPTO Classes
348169, 348164, 382103, 348E07085, 348E05024, 348E0509
International Class
/
Drawings
9



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